"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." So says one of the most important documents in the history of the United States of America: the Declaration of Independence. The realization of these rights was the whole point of the bloody struggle to break free from the control of the British crown that saw itself as the originator and dispenser of rights to the people, both at home and in the colonies.
The signers of this document pledged "our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." to establishing a government in the new land where these rights to life, liberty and so much more were recognized. Once free of the oppressive monarch, they set about to create a system where the people were the ultimate authority and government answered to its employers: the citizens.
They laboriously created a constitutional plan where three branches were supposed to balance each other so no one reigned supreme. They did this by limiting the reach of the legislative, executive and judicial branches to restrain dictatorial rule. So concerned were some of the leaders immediately following the presentation of the document that it did not sufficiently restrain the power of the central government that its ratification by all the states could not have been accomplished without the promise of additional guarantees of individual freedoms and restraints on governmental power. Hence the first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, quickly followed acceptance of the original document.
Many today believe they have the rights of free speech, religion, personal protection through firearms because of these amendments. In reality, every human being has these rights, because they were bought into being by a loving creator who wants to see each one of us live and prosper to the best of our abilities. Then why was it necessary to codify them in the constitution? The answer is the same as for any other provision of the constitution, and that is so the government would recognize the limits of its power.
If we were to take the approach that the piece of paper granted us these rights, we would be in the precarious position of leaving them up to what ever men, legislative body or judiciary panel would decide to give us. This would return us to the plight of the colonists under King George. Our creator created us to be free and governments that fail to recognize these rights are operating in violation of what the founding fathers called "natural law", which was the law that was self evident to anyone with the Christian background of these men.
Why is this important? If these rights are unalienable as our founders believed, they are existent apart from any decree from DC. On the other hand, if they come from men, they can be taken away by men. We then have no recourse if these men (or women) decide that we have few or none of the rights laid out by our forefathers. Worse yet, by doing this, we move from being citizens in charge of our government to being its subjects.
This is the price the secular humanists are willing to pay to eliminate the Christian influence from our great country. Their fear of the absolute moral teaching coming from the Word of God leads them to accept enslavement to whims of leaders, ultimately a much more heavy handed control, but without the moral measurement of the ten commandments.
This is the underlying basis of the entire culture war in our country... but it isn't really cultural, it is spiritual.